The essence of the practice life involves cultivating awareness. This process has two basic aspects. The first is clarifying the mental process. The second is experiencing — entering into awareness of the physical reality of the present moment. When we’re standing in the muddy water of everyday life, practice is often not simple and clear. But part of our challenge is to bring a certain precision and impeccability to our efforts. That’s why it’s important to keep returning to these two basic aspects of practice: first, seeing through the mental process, with all its noise; and second, entering the non-conceptual silence of reality as-it-is. As practitioners we learn to honestly and relentlessly observe the mental or conceptual process — thoughts, emotional reactions, strategies and fears — and then bring ourselves back again and again to the physical reality of the present moment.
Ezra Bayda, How to Live a Genuine Life